The Winterfood Diaries

The Winterfood Diaries

Saturday, 3 December 1988

Macbeth at Barnes Bysea


‘Macbeth’ at the Barnes Bysea Theatre.

1st coach leaves 9.45 for technical run.  Back by 11pm.


‘The Art of Parties’ – Japan


MACBETH performance by The Norfolk Drama Society at Barnes Bysea Theatre (one month on…)


The prospect has seemed rather daunting to many.  Would they remember their lines, their moves?  But to me, as this date has loomed ever closer, it hasn’t really felt like there’s been much of a gap.  I’ve had no real worries.  I never actually looked at my lines during the month’s hiatus, either.  Instinct tells me that looking over the words would only make me treat them like information to be taken in again, when I know for a fact – even without accessing them – they are all stored, word-perfectly, in my head.  Reading them again would only force me into making mistakes caused by doubt.  Even so, I have been thinking about the character of King Duncan.  I’ve been playing a mental game, with the director’s encouragement, and imagining that somewhere along the way, Duncan has ‘fallen in with the wrong crowd’ (the witches – who are on set, circling the main players all the time) and has gradually been brought under their influence.  In spite of his bravery and confidence, I think he is afraid of them.


At the 11th hour, Donna Davidson (LADY MACBETH) and I completely re-blocked our scene together because we had felt that there was something lacking in the original version.  To my mind, with regards both of our performances, things really came into their own in this new version.  Instead of being based at one end of the stage, almost immobile, we now moved around, much more jauntily and with a certain amount of comedy.  The audience really seemed to like it, because you could hear them react this time.  I was pleased and felt it was a much better scene than it had been before.  It worked beautifully.









The performance was, in my opinion, the best yet.  It was certainly at its sharpest and most perfectly paced.  That said, some of the apparitions were really unprofessional, whispering and giggling to each other on stage and making a fuss about the smoke machine at the beginning of each act.  Unbelievable!  And Stage Management didn’t care how much noise they made during a scene, clomping about a little too heavily behind the tabs.


Backstage things were as well organised as they were on stage.  The atmosphere was strong and happy, despite some overcrowding in the changing rooms.  This was too much for some of the make up artists who refused to work in such confined conditions.


‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’ – David Bowie


Perhaps the most frightening moment for me came during the curtain call, when I had to present the director – Larry Goodgirl – with a ‘thank you’ present from the group.  As we only decided we’d be doing this yesterday, I had to come up with a somewhat impromptu lead-in on the spot.  It went reasonably well.  I had in fact been chosen to present the gift as an inversion of Larry giving me the DRAMA PRIZE the other day.


I think everything worked smoothly, effectively and quite splendidly.  The camaraderie was tremendous.  Special thanks must go, of course, to the Barnes Bysea Theatre team who were invaluable – and thanks, generally, across the board, to everyone involved. 


It was brilliant and I really enjoyed it.  Larry was freaked and thrilled on it – and a man from The Sunday Times reviewed it.


Special Thanks to:


Vladimir Porton for advice on sound tape


Ronnie Treece


Scarlett Kane


Jane Thorne


All the staff at Barnes Bysea Theatre


My only complaint is that during the ‘thank yous’ after the curtain call, everybody thanked their teams (Set, Lighting, etc), but Kat Hill’s huge contribution to Costumes was omitted.  This is really sad, as she spent so many nights creating what were, frankly, major triumphs.  She has also been omitted from thank you speeches at least once before, which I find quite neglectful.  She deserves credit for her work.


Despite this, MACBETH at Barnes Bysea Theatre was quite tremendous and has evolved, almost silently, during the hiatus to become a rather confident, stylish and powerful piece of work.  


I was commended for my performance by a few, but I was too shy to discuss things with them in any great detail.  Ron Johnson’s dad said I was good + he’s a rather funny bloke.  Ron may be creating an actor’s agency and would like to rope in Donna, Jonny + myself.


Once the show was over, I wanted to meet Donna’s parents + her sister + her sister’s boyfriend (who works with The Jesus + Mary Chain, fact-fans!).  But I didn’t.  They’d all gone for a meal.  Donna later introduced me to her best friend, Sinead, from Cirencester.  She was really nice.  I wish I’d been able to meet Donna’s parents.


Tonite I stayed at Lee-Anne Jones’s (the room next door to Donna Davidson’s) and stayed up late giving her a very erotic massage.  I loved massaging her little arse, but she wouldn’t let things go as far as I wanted them to, which is for the best.



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Next time: ‘Needing Christmas…’

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